Jefferson commissioners set public hearing on changes to Chimacum Creek no-shooting ordinance

PORT TOWNSEND — The Jefferson County commissioners have approved a public hearing to gather comment on two ordinances to amend a no-shooting measure for an area around Chimacum Creek.

The hearing is scheduled for Nov. 6 at 10 a.m. in commissioners chambers at the Jefferson County Courthouse, 1820 Jefferson St.

The two proposed measures would amend a no-shooting ordinance that has been in place around the lower stretches of Chimacum Creek since 2008 by adding more specific boundaries that would be more easily enforced and specifying that shooting into a no-shooting area from outside it is prohibited.

The ordinances were proposed due to safety complaints from community members and input from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, according to the agenda request submitted by Sheriff Dave Stanko and Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Haas.

According to the agenda request, the 2008 map does not correctly show the boundary of the no-shooting area, which extends from Prospect Avenue to the intersection with state Highway 19, then extends southeast along Highway 19 to its intersection with Irondale Road, down Irondale Road to Market Street along the waterfront of Port Townsend Bay.

The disputed boundary has been along the waterfront, according to the agenda request. Hunters have argued that the boundary is the water line, which changes with the tide.

The new boundary would be the low tide mark, which would be marked and would reduce incidents of hunters shooting from a vegetation area near the mouth of the creek where migratory birds congregate.

“With the configuration of that creek there are those smart ducks going further up the creek,” said Commissioner Kathleen Kler. “This will cause some problems for hunters. They’ll just have to wait for them to come out.”

This area also lies within the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s North Olympic Wildlife Area, which would also be more easily enforced if the boundary was clearly marked, according to department officials and Stanko.

At the public hearing commissioners will deliberate based on written and oral public testimony.

Comments will be accepted throughout the hearing or they can be sent in ahead of time by email to jeffbocc@co.jefferson.wa.us or by mail to BoCC at P.O. Box 1220, Port Townsend, WA 98368.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.

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